One theme seems to be popping up in my readings over the past couple of months. The underground church, as it is called in some countries has been in a lot of the books, articles and preaching I have consumed. The underground church or house churches refers to gatherings of Christians in a place where it is against the law to worship Jesus. By living in the United States I don’t think we can truly grasp this concept. We enjoy our freedom of religion and most people take it for granted. Hearing story after story of these people willing to give up their lives so that they can worship the One who died for them.
One story I read recently was of a family in a heavily populated Hindu region of India. The man and his wife converted to Christianity and the next day most of the village was standing outside of their hut. They were all their with lizards waiting for the couple to come out. Tradition states that to come back to Hindu they would need to drink the blood of the lizards. The man and his pregnant wife fled to the nearby jungle. She ended up having the baby in the jungle and they relied on God to see them through. Now that is sacrifice and faith! Do you have to face rabid neighbors with lizards to get to church?
Another and most profound was when a visiting pastor asked an Asian Bible teacher if they see a lot of people falsely confess to be Christians. The Asian pastor just burst into laughter. The visiting pastor was caught off guard. The Asian pastor responded why in the world would someone want to confess to be a Christian if they did not truly believe? The persecution was so great that if you did not truly mean it, you would not endure it. This particular underground church was a missionary training facility. Around 20 Asian teenagers were secretly meeting so that they could become missionaries to the Middle East. Wow! Imagine that coming from a Communist country to a heavily Muslim country to proclaim the Gospel!
I also wanted to share this shirt that Casey bought me for Christmas.
On the back it has Romans 1:16
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
I say all that to say, be thankful for the freedom we have here in America. Don’t take our freedom for granted. Exercise that freedom and worship this week!